Ripples beneath the surface

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: You've probably guessed already, i don't own Harry Potter.

Summary: Discovering secrets you didn't know you had is tough, so who can blame Draco for panicking when he discovers he can shift into a certain mythical creature; elemental to water to be exact. What will happen when Potter discovers this about the Slytherin? How will this effect their relationship and the events in the wizarding world that will follow.

He probably shouldn't be out this late, however, Draco needed time to think. These evening strolls were becoming a regular occurrence for the blond, as he tried to organise all the scrambled thoughts inside his brain. His mind had been perfectly clear before the Quidditch World Cup last summer, however, along the way his thoughts had started to smudge and blur, until he wasn't quite sure what to think anymore. Ever since he was young, his father had hammered morals and values into his son, until the boy knew every one of them by heart. Seeing the way his father had treated the people at the World Cup, Draco wasn't sure if he truly believed what his father had always taught him or if he was just repeating the man. He could still hear the screams and, if he closed his eyes, could see the burning flames. He'd always wanted to be exactly like his father. He wasn't so sure anymore. To mercilessly kill and harm people for the sheer fun of it. Of course, he'd never tell anybody about his doubts. He was a Malfoy and Malfoy's never showed weakness or venerability, may it be physical or mental.

Jumping down from a log he had been walking across, he stopped. He was currently just outside the forbidden forest and had just heard an ear piercing screech. What in Merlin's name was that? His curiosity getting the best of him, the blond crept into the forest and began sneaking through the trees. Reaching where he heard the screech, he peaked over from a bush that he was crouched behind. He froze. Directly in front of him, was a gigantic cage holding an equally gigantic dragon. The creature was thrashing around in fury, streams of flame spraying everywhere. The trees, ground and everything else ablaze. Trainers surrounded the cage trying to calm the beast down. Draco hardly seemed to notice them, his eyes fixed on the creatures head. If it was a fight or flight response, Draco didn't know, but something seemed to snap inside him. A burning sensation grew in his chest that seemed to flood through his body like lava. His eyes were at full attention, the pupils turning to slits. His nails grew into sharp claws and he could feel his teeth sharpen inside his mouth. He fell to his knees in shock, starring at his hands. His confused mind coming to a numbing halt.

This had to be a dream. This couldn't be real. He squeezed his eyes shut, ready to wake up from this horrible nightmare, back to where things made sense. However, when he opened his eyes, his clawed hands were still held up in his vision. Not being able to take this anymore, he ran. Away from the dragon, away from the flames and into the cool evening air. Tears crept out from the corners of his eyes. Stumbling, he fell to the ground outside the forest, near the the log he had previously been walking across. He scrambled towards it, flipping onto his back and breathing frantically. He could still feel the heat in his chest, his claws digging into the dirt, the sharpness of his eyes and senses. What had happened to him? He had become a monster. Wasn't he the one always bragging about how pure blooded he was? If so, then how could he have morphed to this form. He shivered, trying to hold back his panicked sobs, and rapped his arms around himself protectively. He'd never felt so scared in his life.

Pansy tapped the end of her quill against the table, causing splotches to appear all over her parchment.

"Where do you reckon Drakey is?" she asked the other Slytherins, who sat with her in the common room. Some were joining Pansy in finishing their History essays and the others, Crabbe and Goyle, were playing a game of exploding snaps.

"Where ever he normally goes off to at this hour," Theo replied. "I just hope he's back soon. I've just had the greatest idea to get back at Potter."

As they were speaking, the blond entered the common room.

"Drakey!" Pansy squealed, jumping up to greet him. She faulted as she noticed the dark circles that seemed to shadow the boy's eyes.

"Not now Pansy," Draco said quietly. Ignoring his house mates, he disappeared around the corner to the dormitories.

"Wonder what's bothering him," Theo said.

Over the next couple of days, Draco tried to erase that evening's events from his mind. It was difficult, however, and not just due to the burning sensation that had centred itself inside his chest. Not even the entire school shunning Potter could lift his mood, that included the rather immature badges Theo and Pansy had created. Nights were even more difficult.

"You savage beast," his father hissed in his ear, kicking him down hard onto the floor. The blond could hardly keep his eyes open, however, he wished he'd kept them shut when he saw his own blood flooding across the manor hard floor. He looked pleadingly up at his mother, who merely looked at him with disgust. It made his heart clench painfully. He felt his father's foot dig harder into his back.

"You filth. How dare you call yourself my son; a Malfoy? You're even more lowly than those mudbloods; nothing more than a skinwalker. CRUCIO!"

He awoke from the nightmare with a ragged breath; eyes stinging from the unshed tears. His rib cage was burning like he had swallowed a glass of acid making him choke in air. He tried to muffle the sound into his pillow, scared he would wake his roommates. He brought his hands up to cover his mouth. He tried to inhale, but the burning in his chest only seemed to intensify. The room was too small, too crowded. He needed to get out now. Staying as quiet as possible, he clambered out of bed and slipped on his shoes and robes. The door clicked shut behind him.

Draco wasn't the only student awake. Harry Potter lay glaring at the ceiling of his four poster bed. Ron still wasn't talking to him. He didn't know how he would cope with the rest of the school hating him without his best friend's support. How could he possibly believe that Harry had put his name in the Goblet Of Fire? Angrily, he put on his glasses and covered himself in his invisibility cloak. A midnight stroll wouldn't hurt and he really needed to let off some steam.

Draco staggered out of the dungeons, through the school and onto the grounds. Not knowing what he was going to do, he stumbled across to the lake side. His entire body felt like it was on fire. He peered into the lake. The water looked so inviting. To weak to hold himself any longer, he collapsed and fell beneath the surface. Instantly, his skin felt as if it was being cleansed. The cool water washing over his body seemed to relax every muscle. He peeled open his eyes, feeling more relaxed than he had in weeks. The burning simmered down to a pleasant warmth in the pit of his stomach. That's when he noticed that he was inhaling the water. His neck contracted, a bodily reflex to stop himself from drowning. When he realised that he wasn't drowning, his neck relaxed. He traced the gills that had formed under his jawline. While he floated beneath the lakes surface, his feet had also morphed into an ocean blue tail and his senses had been sharpened like the last time he had shifted. This wasn't as shocking as the first time this had happened but it was still quite distressing.

Harry breathed in the cool night air. It was refreshing after laying in the stuffy dormitory. He looked out towards the lake. The moon and stars reflected off of the lakes surface, making it look more beautiful than Harry had ever seen it before. Walking down, he settled himself against a tree beside the lake side. A ripple in the water caught his attention as he gazed at the scenery before him. Leaning forward, he squinted his eyes.

Beneath the water, Draco had spotted a shadowed figure by the tree. His entire body had gone rigid with fear. No one could see him in this form. He didn't even know what this form was or how he was even shifting in the first place. If anyone was to find out that he was shifting into a clawed monster, he would become a disgrace to society. Lower than the blood traitors and mudbloods, disowned and humiliated, lowest of the low. Maybe, if he was completely still the figure wouldn't see him. The figure leaned forward. Draco hesitated. He didn't know what came over him but he found himself swimming up towards the surface.

In the darkness of the water, a pair of sparkling silver eyes emerged from beneath the surface. Harry stared in awe. He could only see above the creatures eye level, but he could already tell it was a beauty to behold. Damp locks of platinum hair were swept back against the creatures head. Harry felt a pang of familiarity, however, he couldn't seem to pinpoint why. The slits in the eyes seemed to dilate. Harry slowly crouched down closer, wanting to reach out to the creature. The movement seemed to startle it and before Harry could do anything the creature had ducked down into the water. With a flick of it's tail, it swum deep under, out of Harry's view. The creature strongly reminded Harry of the mermaids in muggle story books. Had he just seen a mermaid?

Of course the figure had been Harry bloody Potter. What was he thinking nearly revealing himself to his worst enemy? Hopefully, he hadn't been recognised. He needed to be more careful, especially if the boy wonder taking nightly escapades was a routine thing.

Draco was finding it harder and harder to keep the shifting under control. Luckily, everyone's attention seemed to be concentrated on the ex-golden boy. He tried to ignore the beast inside him, but it only seemed to encourage the shifting more and more. He even nearly lashed out at some lower year Gryffindors in the school corridor. He soon realised that the more he tried to repress the creature, the more it wanted to be let loose. Begrudgingly, he started shifting in the lake every night while everyone else was asleep. He had to admit, the midnight swims were relaxing and even quite enjoyable when his worries seemed to drift away. He still wasn't quite sure how or why he was shifting, or what he was shifting into. The only thing he knew was that he seemed to develop characteristics of a creature that could survive under water and on land. Like a merman, but not quite the same.

It had been a couple of days, and Harry had finally decided to take another evening stroll along the lakeside, hopeful to see the creature in the lake again. The nights were getting colder, so to keep warm, he rapped his cloak tightly around himself and huddled up against the tree. With Hermione as his only friend, he felt more alone than he ever had done at Hogwarts.

"Hello," he called out, hoping the creature in the lake could hear him. He didn't know what he had been expecting, but there was no response. He didn't even know if the creature would understand him anyway.

"I hope you don't mind me sitting here beside your lake. I just need some time to myself, away from everyone at Hogwarts." He sighed. He needed to get this off his chest, even if no one was there to listen. "I seem to attract trouble wherever I go. I'm the chosen one, you see. A lot of the time I wish I wasn't. I wish that I could just be another person in the crowd, not with all these expectations weighing on me. People expect me to be this all perfect powerful wizard. They think they know me but they don't, not really. Only the rumours and what people expect me to be. I'm not the most popular person at Hogwarts right now, practically the whole school hates me. I tried to tell everyone that I didn't put my name in the goblet but no one believes me, except my best friend Hermione, she's the only friend I have right now."

Through this little speech, Draco found himself listening intently. What Potter had to say surprised him. He had always thought of Potter as arrogant and spoilt. He thought that the Gryffindor loved the attention, but that didn't seem to be the case. He wondered what else he believed to be true that was false. It was also interesting to know that Potter hadn't actually put his name in the goblet. That entire speech could actually just be one big lie, but Draco didn't think Potter knew anyone was listening and who would lie about something like that to themselves. Curiosity getting the best of him, he swum up to the surface. Like the first time, he rose till the water was up to his eye level and peeked out. He saw Potter huddled up against the tree like before. When the boy noticed him, his green orbs widened in wonder.

The creatures silver eyes were watching him like the last time. A wistful smile formed on Harry's lips.

"Are you alone in that lake."

The creature stared. Harry thought he wasn't going to get a response until the creature appeared to nod its head in the water.

"Do you ever get lonely."

The creature repeated the motion.

"Well, I guess we can keep each other company then."

The creatures gaze didn't waver, almost as if it was analysing him, deciding if he was trust worthy or not. It seemed to make up its mind, as it came slightly closer and tilted its head to the side, causing Harry to chuckle.

"You're the most beautiful creature I've ever seen, what exactly are you though?" he asked, more to himself than anyone else.

The rest of the night Harry spent talking about nothing and everything, enjoying the creatures company. Draco listened in to his every word and began to understand Harry more than he had ever done before.

Thanks for reading. Please review, as i love to know what you think. Feel free to PM me if you have any ideas that you think would be great to add to the stories plot.